Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 10 L 004387 Honorable Brigid Mary McGrath, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Karnezis
JUSTICE KARNEZIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Connors and Justice Harris concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Plaintiff Country Insurance and Financial Services appeals from the circuit court's order dismissing its complaint for lack of jurisdiction against defendant Timothy Roberts. On appeal, Country Insurance contends that the circuit court rather than the Illinois Industrial Commission (Commission) has jurisdiction to hear its claim for fraud, which arose out of a workers' compensation claim. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
On January 16, 2007, Roberts suffered a work-related injury while in the employ of Lakes Underground. Country Insurance is the workers' compensation carrier for Lakes Underground. Between January 16, 2007 and August 10, 2007, Country Insurance paid Roberts approximately $16,000 in temporary total disability (TTD) benefits pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Act (Act) (820 ILCS 305/1 et seq. (West 2006)). Country Insurance ceased payments to Roberts when it discovered Roberts had begun employment with Exceptional Plumbing Services in June 2007.
Roberts filed an application for adjustment of claim pursuant to the Act, as to his January 16, 2007 injury. The application is not included in the record on appeal, however, Roberts represents in his brief that his claim remains pending before the Commission.
Country Insurance filed a four-count complaint against Roberts alleging various acts of fraud. The counts of fraud include fraudulent misrepresentation; insurance fraud; fraud pursuant to the Act; and fraudulent concealment. Country Insurance sought to recoup its costs including the TTD benefits it had paid to Roberts as well as the medical benefits Roberts received, and the attorneys fees and costs of bringing the suit against Roberts.
Roberts filed a motion to dismiss the complaint alleging that the Commission rather than the circuit court had jurisdiction over the claim.*fn1 The circuit court granted the motion to dismiss pursuant to section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2006)), finding "all counts thereof are dismissed with prejudice, the court lacking primary jurisdiction as to the issues therein and [ ] primary jurisdiction being with the Illinois Industrial Commission." Country Insurance appeals from the court's order.
A section 2-619 motion to dismiss raises certain defects or defenses and questions whether a defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. 735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2006). We review an order dismissing a cause pursuant to section 2-619 de novo. Ferguson v. City of Chicago, 213 Ill. 2d 94, 99 (2004).
In this appeal, we must determine whether the circuit court or the Commission has jurisdiction over the claims in Country Insurance's complaint. The answer to this jurisdictional question lies in the nature of the action brought.
Illinois courts have original jurisdiction over all justiciable matters. (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, §9.) However, section 18 of the Act also provides: "[a]ll questions arising under this Act, if not settled by agreement of the parties interested therein, shall, except as otherwise provided, be determined by the Commission." 820 ILCS 305/18 (West 2006). Our supreme court has determined that under certain circumstances, both the Commission and the circuit court have concurrent jurisdiction to decide a question raised in a workers' compensation case. Employers Mutual Companies v. Skilling, 163 Ill. 2d 284, 288 (1994).
We find the cases of Employers Mutual Companies v. Skilling, 163 Ill. 2d 284 (1994) and Hollywood Trucking, Inc. v. Watters, 385 ...